Date: 17 December 2010
Place: Foz de Iguaçu
“…, a sun who spread light and warmth wherever he went, and was an example to all those who think beyond their horizons.”
Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello
Yesterday, I witnessed once again a miracle and that prayers are answered […]. That’s why my belief that my prayers for the family I saw yesterday under the bridge and the crippled old man will be answered has increased. One of the reasons why I must have been blessed with the ability to travel is so that I can pray for the needy and send them good will and happy energy.
A scene I saw on Brazilian TV last night grabbed my attention. A young guy kissed an elderly’s hand and put it on his forehead. I had never seen this act outside of Turkey, even in other Middle Eastern countries. I was very surprised.
Finally this morning, we woke up to a sunny Rio. The ocean and the sky were blue for the first time. The view of the Sugarloaf Mountain from Copacabana was extra nice.
But we had to go to the airport early morning. On the way, we could see the large favelas hidden behind the panels on the sides of the road. Honestly, they didn’t look any different than the ugly settlements and shantytowns of Istanbul. They are only different with regards to security. In some favelas, the army had to take control and their helicopters are roaming over these areas all the time. There are plans to build new housing for the inhabitants of the favelas and then to eventually destroy the shantytowns.
Rio exceeded all my expectations. I really really really loved Rio.
Now we are in the Iguaçu city, in Recanto Park Hotel, room 179. We are 10 km. away from Paraguay. It is possible to see many cars, which came from Paraguay in the traffic. Due to the agreements among the South American countries, they can easily travel from one country to another without a visa and having to pass through customs.
On our way here, our plane had a stopover at Curitiba. As we were approaching our stop, we could see the fantastic dark green, dense and hundreds of hectares of uninterrupted forests, the Iguacu river and the hydraulic central.
As soon as we landed, we went to Foz de Iguaçu in the Iguaçu National Park. The falls are 15 minutes drive away from the entrance of the park. On our way, we came across many official vehicles and their escorts.
They have all gathered here for an international summit.
The presidents of many countries were here. We came across the Chilean President and the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister who were getting their pictures taken at the falls. An officer from the Chilean cabinet asked F. to take his picture. Much later, we learnt that Turkey was represented by Egemen Bagis but we haven’t seen him.
The forest where this national park is situated is a sub-tropical forest. It has pumas, jaguars and toucans but unfortunately we didn’t see any animals (except for big lizards and colourful butterflies).
This forest is not considered as part of the Amazons. The Amazons are in the northern part of the country. The falls are really impressive, loud and powerful. They caused us to get wet even from afar, even though it was nice to get wet in this humid weather.
In the language of the local tribe (Guarani), Iguaçu means big water. Foz de Iguaçu means the mouth of big water. Across the river is Argentine land. 70% of the falls belong to Argentina. Tomorrow, we will cross the border into Argentina and see the falls from there as well. But even on this side of the river, my phone caught the Argentine network.
Previously, for a very small amount, the chiefs of the tribes allowed tourists to visit their villages if they were accompanied by guides. But when the tourists started giving the children candy, caused their teeth to decay and get ill, the tribes stopped allowing them. They refuse to see a doctor. They prefer to use their own herbal remedies and never to come across with the white man. The part of the tribe who remained on the Argentine side sometimes sell beads to tourists but only 10 people selected by the chief are allowed to come close to white man.
Due to lack of rain in 2006, there was almost no water in Iguaçu. The tourists only saw a big canyon and were very disappointed. Thankfully, now the water was plenty and in parts brown (this means that the water is abundant and powerful). At its most normal, the water is light green.
It took about 30 minutes to reach our hotel. This way, we got to see some farmland and the city of Foz de Iguaçu. It is exactly how I imagined South America to be.
Dark green and tropical trees are magnificent; the buildings are either simply shacks or high and concrete – just like what I have seen in documentaries.
Tomorrow morning, we will be in Argentina but we will return to Brazil to catch our Sao Paolo flight.